A Network of Kisses, Not of Stones

Last month my family came over for a visit – my mother, sister, my eldest son and his girl friend. Taking a day trip to the Giant’s Causeway, along with my husband, we made for an interesting familial mix of English, Irish, Indian and Chinese heritage.

Rovelli, in his book ‘The Order of Time’, states ‘The world is made up of a network of kisses not of stones’. By this he means, that the world is made of happenings – large, small, across time and continents – not things. We return again to Aristotle’s premise – time is the measurement of change.

Things, Rovelli states, are the result of occurrences or events.

The seemingly static, solid, rocks of the Giant’s Causeway were formed between 50and 60 million years ago, the result of intense volcanic activity. Molten basalt erupted through chalk beds forming lakes of lava. This cooled and contracted resulting in hexagonal structures. Today, thousands of tourists visit the site, their footfall, along with weathering over millions of years, adding to the rocks distinct characteristics. To our small family group, as we scrambled across stones and basked in the sun, it was a day to re connect and enjoy each other’s company.

I have long thought, intuitively, that time is elastic. I am now closer to understanding why that is, having found confirmation in my (some what limited) research into the fields of science, theology and philosophy. Interestingly, it would seem that the conclusions St Augustine and Rovelli come to, separated by their respective disciplines and across the centuries, are not that dissimilar. We perceive and sense the nature of time from within. To understand time we must return to ourselves. In the words of St Augustine:

‘It is within my mind, then, that I measure time. I must not allow my mind to insist that time is something objective. When I measure time, I am measuring something in the present of my mind’. (Confessions; Book XI)



As my residency at St Augustine’s draws to a close, there are a few people I would like to thank.

Firstly, to Paola Bernardelli, project manager of Art Arcadia, who invited me to participate in the residency. A life force in the artistic community in Derry, Paola is ever generous with her time, expertise and enthusiasm. She steadied me through a couple of wobbles and accepted my cup of instant cappuccino with grace (in her words, ‘when in Rome…’).

To Kieran Ferris, also part of the Art Arcadia team, who boldly went up a ladder where I feared to tread.

To the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Derry City and Strabane District Council for their funding.

To the Reverend Malcolm Ferry and the community of St Augustine’s, for welcoming me into their midst.

And finally, to Greg, who has endured my prolonged absenteeism without complaint.

Kisses not stones.

Sue Morris